The Day It All Began

“On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly . . . It is a day for you to sound the trumpets.” According to Jewish tradition, the first day of the Hebrew month Tishrei is when man was first created, and on this day, every year, humanity begins a new year.

October 1st - The beginning of the Jewish year - New Year’s Day in Israel - Remembered as the day on which God first created people. Just the thought of that is reason to pause. Let’s for a moment, consider that that might be true; that this day was the day when God created people. Before this day no one had ever existed. Before this day, no one had the ability to govern and support the balance of nature. Before this day, there was a void, a vacancy, a need that required a specifically designed being. A special order that could and would address the need within creation for a caretaker/care-giver. Into that being, a divine capacity needed to be woven. It was a risk that gave to Creation, something greater than itself. It included an eternal component that tapped into the source of life itself. What would happen if this being went rogue?

Naively compliant, innocent, non-controversial: simply moving throughout a garden. Absorbing, relating, engaging, creating trust and friendship. What would creation do if this creature broke out and went its own way? Would the world shift on its axis? Would it spark an ice age resulting in the extinction of much of what had been birthed? Where do you go when your primary caregiver is broken and no longer responding as they should? ~ It wreaks havoc in the natural patterns as a wave of dissension sweeps across the land. Order touches rebellion before the word was formed. A lostness; evaporating tranquillity leaves life pushed while pulled into a space that no longer resonates with calm and peace. The masters have raised a fist to Creator and said, “We think our way can be just as good as your’s.” And something broke.

Caught by an overwhelming wave of disorder and chaos cascading down upon them; swept by the tsunami of loss and violation, the masters drop, consumed by the terror of the opened Pandora’s box. What have they done and what will they do? How can they possibly pretend this never happened? They are going to be judged on this point and they are powerless to impede the encroaching death. What was once their’s, they released; now grasped by another. What they had used for the betterment of all, was and would continue to be used for the sole purpose of enthroning their accuser. Creator has been betrayed and the keys to dominion have been passed to a mutineer. 

That silver-tongued creature, dripping with condescension had made them feel naive and disadvantaged. He had said things that had promised greatness; things that would elevate them to new heights. Yet now, all the glory and majesty of created order was being consumed by another world. A voracious cancer was sweeping across the landscape and nothing was left standing in its wake. Beauty wrinkled. Innocence manipulated. Childlikeness hardened and freedom was no more. What once moved and swayed with the caress of the breeze, now bowed gasping for another breath. How was this anything like God? That had been their enticement. Be like God. 

Did God have to deal with this in his world? Was his world this bent and distorted? Was this simply another way of approaching existence without a moral consequence? What if all that materialized before the masters’ eyes was the other option of existence? What if this was the antithesis of what had been theirs? To have the one required the releasing of the other. And they had chosen this. This, a sinister brew that spewed out death and malicious intent. Why would anyone choose this over beauty and shalom?

“Because it’s ours! Not his. It belongs to us and we control it. We do as we wish and you will do as we wish. Where we once were shackled to our masters’ whims, you now are bound to us. We are the masters of your fate and you are the peasant, the loathsome ones who exist for our pleasure. You did this. You were not forced. You were allowed yourselves to be enticed. You wanted this and now you must live with the consequence of desire.”  

The air sat heavy in the garden; like a humid day on the edge of a refuse dump. The smell of decay probed the senses. It was a foreign stench that held its ground with domination that forced surrender. Oh to be like God. Did God succumb to this? Was this his lot? 

“Where are you? Adam, where are you?”

We know that voice. It doesn’t belong here. It breaks through; a breeze of freshness that somehow is not defiled. We are drawn to it while we cower in our shame. We cannot escape the reality of our betrayal. We have ruined all that is good. We have foolishly exchanged what was life for what is dying before our eyes. We feel it in our bones, our lungs, our minds. We feel broken and ashamed. 

“Where are you?”

Please leave. We cannot look into your eyes and live. Consume us in our misery and don’t look upon our nakedness. We are scarred, encrusted in filth. We crawl, clawing at the ground to cover us. We cannot be exposed in this condition. 

“Where are you?”

“I’m hiding.” The words escaped our lips involuntarily. They were drawn to their source as one returning home. A pull that overwhelmed remorse. “I’m hiding here. Please find me because I am lost and struck with terror.” 

“Adam. What have you done?” Creator’s hand touched our head with the gentleness of a kiss. Its tenderness, a stark contrast to the harshness that had engulfed us. 

Ah, the familiarness of that touch. It was once our inhabitance; long ago in a time gone by. Or was it yesterday? When was it, that we last lived in the embrace of grace? Creator had warned us. Don’t eat what will kill you. Why had we believed his motive was manipulated? Why did we so quickly choose to think the worst and feel that we were being violated by Love itself? 

One glance at our surroundings revealed the horror of our choice. We had become too grand in our own eyes. We had believed we deserved more. It was our entitlement and that is exactly what it was. Entitlement. A cruel master that constantly demands more, when the more is heaping dung onto our plate and declaring it good. 

“Did you eat what I warn you against? Did I not say that fruit would be your death? Why would you consider my words untrue? Why would you question all that you had? Was all that you had leaving you feeling cheated?”

It’s your fault. You gave me my master-partner. If you had left me here alone, I would have never eaten what you forbade.

Creator was there, then he wasn’t and then he was. It happened in a single move. He came with nothing in his hand, yet stood there with a hide. A once beautiful being we had loved. An innocent who trusted us and fed from our own hands. We knew that skin and the pattern of spots and lines. And it was gone. No life. No frame. Just a tanned hide that held no shape. 

Creator drew us close. A great sadness was in the air. Not stifling but palpable. Grace mingled with authority blended in Creator’s touch. He covered us and hid our shame. We dawned clean garments while still soiled by decay. It was a casing, almost a barrier that kept death from claiming us as its victim. It held off the inevitable. We were going to die.

“There is a cost and a consequence that comes with every choice you make. When you choose, you must be prepared to live with your decision. You cannot renege what you have elected. But I will not surrender what I have made. You cannot restore what you have given away. But I will retrieve what has been stolen, because you gave away the part of you that was me. It is mine to claim and the claiming I shall do. You will not see the end in your time. Yet you will embrace it when time has ceased to dictate life. I will not abandon you. But you will no longer live in the shelter of perfection. Work will take on brokenness that cuts and bruises and leaves you weary. You cannot escape your purpose to caretake and cultivate. But now, creation will not cooperate with you. It longs to, but it no longer has the freedom to simply be. Now it too is fighting to survive. You have done a great disservice to all that has been made. But a day will come when I will restore what has been lost today.”

Creator’s presence was a breath of purity that carried no stench of death. And as he moved on, the air behind his presence was swallowed up by a foulness that sucks the oxygen from our lungs. What had he said? “I will reclaim what you have given away.” 

Then there must be hope. There must be a day when this evil is removed. There must be a return to what once was. We know Creator. We remember we carried part of him within us. It stirs there still. His presence woke it in our being and life begins to stir again.